Deportivo Alaves will host Eibar at the Mendizorrotza Stadium on Wednesday, as the two Basque clubs face off in a crucial midweek fixture in La Liga before the Christmas break.
Despite taking four points off giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, Alaves are having a torrid time in Spain's top flight this season and find themselves a lowly 17th in the league table. They are clear of the relegation zone only by virtue of their better head-to-head record against 18th-placed Valladolid.
Pablo Machin's men are winless in three games since beating Real Madrid in November, failing to score in more than 220 minutes of league action.
In their most recent fixture away to Celta Vigo, Alaves lost 2-0 with a brace from Brais Mendez sinking the visitors.
Eibar are not doing much better than their midweek opposition at the moment. The Armeros are have won only once in their previous seven games in the league, dropping to 14th in the table.
They are only a point clear of the relegation spots. If their fortunes do not change soon, Eibar's seven-year dream run in La Liga - with all odds stacked against them - could be coming to an end.
However, if their game against Real Madrid on Sunday is anything to go by, that doesn't seem to be happening any time soon.
Playing the champions at home, Eibar struggled to get on the ball as much as they would've liked, with the game ending in a 3-1 home defeat.
Deportivo Alaves vs Eibar Head-to-Head
Alaves and Eibar have played each other eight times in La Liga, with all of those meetings coming in the previous four seasons as this has been the only time the two clubs shared space in the Spanish top tier.
Alaves narrowly edge their Basque rivals in those meetings with three wins compared to two for Eibar, with three other fixtures ending in a draw. Alaves did the double over Eibar last season, winning 2-0 away from home and 2-1 in the reverse fixture back in the Mendizorrotza.
Alaves form guide: L-L-D-W-D
Eibar form guide: L-D-D-W-D
Deportivo Alaves vs Eibar Team News
Midfielder Pere Pons is still out for Alaves with a foot injury, but captain Manu Garcia returned against Celta from the bench.
Centre-back Rodrigo Ely had to be subbed-off due to a knee issue on the weekend and is likely to be unavailable for Wednesday's game. Victor Laguardia appears to be in line to replace him.
Injured: Pere Pons
Doubtful: Rodrigo Ely
Coach José Luis Mendilibar has a host of injury issues as Sergi Enrich, Jose Angel, Sergio Cubero, Roberto Correa and Paul Oliveira remain on the treatment table for Eibar.
Esteban Burgos should return to the starting lineup after completing his one-game suspension for accumulation of yellow cards.
Injured: Sergi Enrich, Jose Angel, Sergio Cubero, Roberto Correa, Paul Oliveira
Deportivo Alaves vs Eibar Predicted Line-up
Deportivo Alaves Predicted XI (4-4-2): Fernando Pacheco; Ximo Navarro, Victor Laguardia, Florian Lejeune, Ruben Duarte; Jota, Tomas Pina, Rodrigo Battaglia, Luis Rioja; Lucas Perez, Joselu
Eibar Predicted XI (4-4-2): Marko Dmitrovic; Alejandro Pozo, Esteban Burgos, Pedro Bigas, Anaitz Arbilla; Takashi Inui, Pape Diop, Edu Exposito, Bryan Gil; Yoshinori Muto, Kike Garcia
Deportivo Alaves vs Eibar Prediction
Both Alaves and Eibar are struggling to make things happen in the final third at the moment, with both sides having the worst offensive record in the league.
One goal could be enough to decide this game and hence both managers could go for a rather conservative approach in order to avoid defeat.
However, we expect Eibar to get the job done on Wednesday.
Prediction: Deportivo Alaves 1-2 EibarPublished 22 Dec 2020, 00:35 IST